How I went from lost and confused to focused and found!
Once upon a time, I was lost and confused!
Have you ever heard the proverb, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes”? It’s when you provide exceptional service all day long for your customers, clients, or patients, but you neglect to do the same thing for yourself or those closest to you. This is a very common phenomenon in the web design industry. And it happened to me.
I spent a lot of time being lost and confused (or just plain neglectful) with my own website, all the while being crystal clear what it was my clients were supposed to do with their sites. You’ve probably experienced this in your own industry, business, or even personal lives – you can help others all day long, but when it comes to helping yourself with the same problems or challenges, you take a back seat to other priorities and let things slip.
I can’t remember the exact day when I realized my own site was a mess, but it was definitely in front of a web design client! How embarrassing; most of my web design and digital marketing clients came from word-of-mouth referrals from local businesses, so I wasn’t paying much attention to my own marketing efforts or website. You might say I forgot how important it is to work ON your business as much as it is IN it… or I simply lost focus!
The wake up call happened when I went to look up my own site with a phrase (known as a keyword phrase in our industry) that should have been one to easily get ranked high on the first page of Google. The result? Crickets… nowhere to be found! I was trying to demonstrate a point to the client, which ended up failing miserably. My site may have shown up on the 5th or 6th page, but anything beyond the first page is considered “no man’s land”! My first sign of neglect. Just a quick check and I realized what the problem was – don’t worry, I’ll reveal that in just a bit.
“This can’t be”, I thought! There’s no way clients will think I’m credible if I can’t rank high in Google’s search results for my own website, at least locally.
I had also ignored my own cardinal rule: “make sure your site clearly states what problem(s) you’re solving for your dream customer and that you’re consistent with this message throughout your site.” Something had to give.
Taking a hard look at what I was doing wrong was the first step. I truly believe self-awareness is the foundation of self-improvement.
Have you ever heard of the “shiny new toy syndrome”? An online guru and wonderful connection of mine, Ted Rubin, has a great article about this. He wrote it a few years ago, but the premise still holds. It’s one of those bad habits I continue to struggle with, especially when it comes to making money online. Instead of staying focused on one task until completion, I tend to jump all over the place looking for that next great idea of “how to make money online”! Yes, I have a web design and digital marketing business, and have owned eye care practices in the past, so I believe a creative entrepreneurial mind is necessary for these kinds of endeavors. But, this type of creative mind can lend itself to the shiny new toy syndrome. How, then, does an entrepreneur like me fix this bad habit that adds to the creative process?
Then I got focused and found, and lived happily ever after!
It was now time to get focused and found – focused on fixing my website and processes to make sure I work ON my business, not just IN it; and get found in the top of Google’s search results for my keyword phrases so I don’t lose opportunities to gain customers when they search for my type of business.
1. The first step was to learn how to get more focused.
- I’m a huge fan of Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com and an even bigger fan of a process he uses to complete projects in a timely manner. I learned about this from one of his podcast episodes around the time I needed it. To summarize, he recommends you “work in small, but complete batches, taking one thing at time.” Here’s his podcast episode that explains the process:
- The next thing I had to do was create a better project management system for keeping both my clients’ projects on track as well as my for my own website. Enter Trello, one of the simplest and visually appealing project management systems I’ve ever used. But, don’t let it’s simplicity fool you. It is used by some of the biggest “Rockstars” in the digital marketing industry. When I need a project management system that’s more geared towards task lists, I use Asana.com.
- Finally, I wanted to have a better system to track my contacts, without it being overwhelming like a Salesforce or Infusionsoft type of CRM (customer relations management system), so I actually found one called “Less Annoying CRM”, which is just that! Less annoying.
2. The next step was to get found. You bet I put some of my favorite marketing tactics to work to make sure I was never embarrassed again in front of a client! Below are some of the things I did to get my site back up to number one, two or three on the first page of Google.
- To make sure my website was consistent and was addressing the biggest pain point(s) of my dream customers/ideal clients (or avatar as we sometimes like to call them in the digital marketing industry), I spent time looking at my site from their points of view.
- Then I went back to the drawing board and did keyword research on Google’s keyword planner tool to find the best keyword phrases for my dream customers/ideal clients. I also use software that’s more user friendly. Here’s a great video that explains how to use this software.
- I added the resulting keyword phrases, as well as others I knew would help rank me higher for my type of business locally (eg. Name of City + web design, WordPress consultant + name of city, etc.), to my WordPress blog. The best place to do this is within the content of my blog posts, and also behind the scenes in my favorite SEO (or, search engine optimization) WordPress plugin (if you don’t have WordPress, there are other ways to add your keyword phrases. Your web designer can help you with this). Click here for one of my favorite articles from Hubspot that illustrates the best blueprint for writing a blog post – this will help guide your readers that, ultimately, helps you rank well for the post and for your entire site.
- Once I felt confident that my blog posts were written according to the best blueprint recommendations, included the right keyword phrases to address my dream customers’ biggest pain points, and that the posts and website overall included the keyword phrases behind the scenes, I began sharing my posts on social media. Something interesting I discovered that I haven’t seen much written about online was this: I couldn’t seem to get my site any higher than 5 or 6 on the first page of Google when searching using my keyword phrases. But, when I created a Pinterest business account and started adding posts that made sense for my dream customers, my site quickly climbed to the #1 position for my local keyword phrase! It seemed to happen overnight.
- Of course, I had already added my site to Google’s Local Business Directory, which makes a tremendous impact on your local search engine results.
To illustrate how well my efforts had worked, I tested how quickly I could get a blog post to rank on Google for a particular affiliate product I was recently helping to promote. It was a review article about the product. Much to my amazement, when I searched the post for the product using various search phrases, the article began showing at the #1, #2, and #3 positions consistently. This happened within 6 hours of posting the article to my site! Six hours… I was thrilled. Then, after just a month or two of posting the article, I received the biggest thrill of all – I made my first big affiliate sale! It was a $2,000 sale from one product and one customer. Can you imagine my thrill when I discovered that someone bought a high-end product simply because of a blog post? This is the power of getting focused and found after being lost and confused!
If you would like more information on how to fix your website to grow your business, download my free eBook “Fix Your Website with These 5 Things Starting NOW to Grow Your Business.” or reach out to me here.